The Virginia Redistricting Competition has challenged students in two divisions to draft the fairest districts based on a number of criteria. And the judges have selected the winners.
Both divisions used criteria such as compact districts with equal populations. But contest co-organizer and Christopher Newport Professor Quentin Kidd, said the first group added a political factor: "Drawing districts that were competitive, so that people would have to actually fight to retain their seat or fight to win a seat."
Co-organizer and George Mason Associate Professor Michael McDonald said the winners' districts are far more compact and respect more political subdivisions than current maps.
"This isn't just one or two fewer boundary splits, these are -- for the House of Delegates -- on the order of 30 fewer boundary splits, so these maps are really doing something that's much different," he says.
The University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary Law School won the two congressional divisions. The state Senate maps of a second UVA team and William and Mary undergraduates also won. And George Mason and the University of Richmond took the top prize for their House of Delegates districts.